Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559) - John Calvin
Book 3 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 4 - Impurity of Sophists' doctrine of repentance;
discussion of confession and satisfaction
Section 30 - Christ's unique sacrifice can alone remove both penalty and guilt
Jesus bore the penalty for our sins - Isa 53:5.
He paid the price of our redemption - Rom 3:24; 1 Cor 1:30; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14.
God lays out the price in sacrifice, not satisfaction - Ex 30:10; Lev 4:1-7:16; Hosea 14:2
"If we are delivered from guilt through Christ, the penalties that arise from it must cease."
Section 31 - Misinterpretations exposed: God's judgments, penal and corrective
There are two kinds of judgment, from God: vengeance or punishment, and correction or admonition.
In the former, God is judge; in the latter, God is a father.
Section 32 - distinction of God's purpose in judgment in vengeance, versus judgment of chastisementGod judges in vengeance and punishment, with His curse and wrath, on unbelievers. He judges believers with chastisement for blessing – Job 5:17; Prov 3:11-12; Heb 12:5-6; Ps 118:18; 119:71; Jer 10:24-25; Hab 3:2; Isa 48:10. God’s covenant with David, “still in force” for us, shows this: 2 Sam 7:12-13; Ps 89:30-33. Believers are “tender to bear God’s wrath,” while unbelievers “kick and rant against Him.”
Section 33 – Judgment of vengeance serves to punish; judgment of chastisement to improve
God’s judgments are meant for correction of future sins more than punishment for past sins. He chastises us to bring us to repentance – Isa 1:5-6. Compare 1 Sam 15:23; 2 Sam 12:18; 1 Cor 11:32.
Section 34 – The believer undergoing God’s chastisement is not to lose heart.
Because God means us to profit by them, in His mercy and kindness. Still, believers often almost lose heart in affliction – Ps 88:16; 90:7-9; 94:12-13.
Section 35 – The punishment of David
He was punished to show God hates adultery and murder, not to pay off a penalty for those sins. Same with the plague in 2 Sam 24:15, and the curse that followed the Fall at the very beginning – Gen 3:16-19. Rome points to these as warrant for requiring satisfaction after forgiveness, but there are many examples of forgiveness where no satisfaction is required – Luke 18:14; 22:61; Matt 9:2.
Section 36 – Good works as redemption of punishment
“Banish the thought that there should be any other ransom than the blood of Christ!” Doing good works is to replace by restitution the sin we were doing; they are not meant to atone for them before God. Dan 4:27; Prov 10:12; 16:6. Instead of hatred leading us to “reproach, injure, one another and make a fault of everything,” love tolerates faults, heals them by admonishing instead of aggravating them by reproaches.” Similar passages showing how to live, but not how to atone for sin – Heb 13:16; Luke 11:39-41.
Section 37 – The woman who was a sinner
Luke 7:36-50. Her love for Christ was not “the cause, but the proof, of forgiveness of sins.” Saying she was forgiven because she loved was a way to tell Simon that Jesus DID know she had sinned much. Jesus said her faith saved her, in the end.
Section 38 – The Roman doctrine cannot claim the authority of the church fathers
The fathers emphasized that “God requires nothing of us beyond our confessing our transgressions before Him with tears.”
Section 39 – The Schoolmen corrupt the teaching of the fathers
The fathers erred sometimes, but Rome corrupts their teaching worse. For instance, they sought satisfaction to the church following excommunication, not after each and every sin.